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Alaska Cruise

Alaska Cruise gives you the opportunity to get up close and personal with all kinds of wildlife. You'll also discover Native American culture, outdoor activities, and surprisingly balmy summer temperatures on Alaska cruises.

There are essentially two Alaska cruise itineraries -- the Inside Passage and the Gulf of Alaska. The first is primarily a seven-night round trip voyage from Seattle or Vancouver. Princess, Crystal and Silversea also offer 10-night and 12-night versions out of San Francisco. The Gulf itinerary is a seven-night one-way cruise between Seattle/Vancouver and Seward/Whittier, the two ports for Anchorage. An occasional misconception among would-be cruisers is that a Gulf of Alaska itinerary does not offer passengers the opportunity to visit the Inside Passage ports. It does. The gulf in question is that stretch of water north of Glacier Bay and the south side of the Kenai Peninsula, where the Anchorage ports are located. To get between those ports and either Seattle or Vancouver, it is necessary to pass along the Inside Passage coastal strip so a typical Gulf of Alaska cruise will probably include the likes of Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway.

Alaska cruises normally sell for a higher price than the Caribbean. The Alaska cruise season only runs from May through September, and demand is high. Getting to the embarkation port is often more costly than flying to Florida or even to Europe. Some cruise ships are sailing from California ports, which might be a cheaper air fare, but a longer cruise. Summer is the big vacation season in the northwest, and many non-cruisers also choose to head to this beautiful part of the world. The shorter season and high demand add up to a more expensive cruise.

Places you will visit on an Alaska Cruise



The small city of Seward is nestled at the foot of Mount Marathon along the scenic shoreline of Resurrection Bay, a restless, fickle body of water teeming with abundant species of fish and frolicking marine mammals. In 1792 the bay was sighted and named on Resurrection Day, Easter Sunday, by Alexander Baranof, the most famous of Alaska’s early Russian explorer-governors. Against a backdrop of peaks and passes sculpted by Ice Age glaciers, Seward’s ice-free harbor has long served as a natural gateway to the vast scenic and resource riches of Alaska’s huge interior.

The city of Seward was named for President Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William Henry Seward, the man who engineered the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. The city was officially founded in 1903 on a long-abandoned Native village site, but the town had already been a Gold Rush encampment for at least a decade. Optimistic prospectors heard tales of a trail that led from Seward to riches-to-be, and on to Cook Inlet. That dogsled trail would indeed lead to the rich strikes at Hope and Sunrise and later to the bonanza at Iditarod, a place name commemorated in today’s Iditarod Sled Dog Race, and on to Nome.

Then in 1903, a party of railroad men arrived and laid out the present city in a traditional grid of city blocks and wide streets that would be familiar to anyone from similar small railroad towns across America. In the boasting spirit of frontier towns, one of Seward’s streets was named Millionaires Row for the gold barons, another was called Home Brew Alley for obvious reasons. The new railroad that was built to reach Cook Inlet (the city of Anchorage) was called the Alaska Central Railway. It would later become the Anchorage to Seward route of today’s Alaska Railroad.

Seward’s history is well documented in a variety of websites and can be seen close up and personally at the excellent, homey Resurrection Bay Historical Society Museum located on 3rd Avenue.

Situated at the head of Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula, Seward is one of Alaska’s oldest and most scenic communities. Known as the 'Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park' Seward is a picturesque town located 126 miles south of Anchorage. Visitors can easily reach us via the Seward Highway Scenic Byway, the Alaska Railroad, or by bus, air, or cruise ship.

Upon your arrival you will discover our bustling harbor and historic downtown district filled with quaint shops and art galleries.

Experience trophy sport fishing, glacier and wildlife cruises, sailing, hiking, kayaking, flight seeing, summer dog sled rides, and more. Seward is also a winter wonderland offering cross-country skiing and snow machine adventures.

At 3,022 feet, towering Mt. Marathon provides a breathtaking backdrop for the town. Behind Mt. Marathon and extending down the coast lies the Harding Icefield, measuring 35 by 20 miles.

Flowing from the Harding Icefield are many glaciers, eight of which are tidewater glaciers, calving icebergs into the sea, reaching the coastline between Seward and Homer.


Adventures for everyone wait in Juneau. For those seeking wildlife, Juneau has some of the most spectacular wildlife viewing in the world. Come to Juneau and viewing of whales, brown bear and eagles can be just minutes away. A variety of wildlife tours can get you up close to black bear, Dall porpoise, sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, mountain goats and Sitka Black Tail Deer.

For visitors seeking the grandeur of Alaska's glaciers, there is no finer place to view them than Juneau. Giant bergs and flowing rivers of ice are found in and around Juneau. Our region boasts some of the most incredible glacier activity in the world. Juneau is home to magnificent Mendenhall Glacier located just 13 miles from downtown. Juneau is also the sending off point to Glacier Bay National Park and Tracy Arm Fjord.

For outdoor adventure Juneau can't be topped. Juneau is home to over 100 miles of groomed hiking trail that brings the temperate rainforest up close to hikers. The protected waterways in Southeast Alaska provide excellent sea kayaking into areas rich with wildlife. Rafting the Mendenhall River also provides adventurer for of any age.

Experience the flight of a lifetime in a small plane or helicopter. Fixed wing aircraft offer spectacular views from above and landings at remote lodges. Helicopters offer glacier landings where visitors can actually walk on a glacier, go dog sledding on the Juneau Icefield or after being outfitted with crampons and ice axes, hike the glaciers.


The rich history and scenic beauty of Ketchikan lays the groundwork for visits to many interesting attractions.

Even a short visit to Ketchikan , during a cruise ship port call or stopover en route to another destination, provides many opportunities to sample our wonderful array of activities.

Pick up a map at the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau's visitor information center and follow the numbered signs posted along the route to learn about the history and culture of our community.  Several popular attractions are located along the route, which starts downtown, including local museums, Creek Street, native cultural attractions, as well as plenty of shopping and restaurants.  The route can be walked in as little as 60 minutes, but plan extra time to appreciate the sights and for entering attractions along the way.

The heart of downtown is Ketchikan Creek; where the earliest visitors, Tlingit natives, set up summer fish camps along its shores.  Ketchikan Creek's shoreline bends and curves past Creek Street , a pedestrian thoroughfare consisting of wooden boardwalks.  During prohibition and in later years, buildings on the street housed several bordellos. Today, restaurants, galleries and gift shops are popular stops for visitors. A funicular tram glides up the hillside offering a birds-eye view of the downtown area and arrives in the lobby of the Cape Fox Lodge Hotel and its impressive display of Alaskan Native artifacts.

Outside the main entrance the Gathering of the Clans totem collection can be viewed, and there is easy access to the Ted Ferry Civic Center, a modern meetings and conventions facility with a dramatic backdrop of Deer Mountain. 

A walk through the forested path of the Married Man's Trail will return you to Creek Street. Or follow Venetia Way to Park Avenue for a brief walk to the Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and Eagle Center and the Totem Heritage Center .  

At the mouth of the creek, The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show showcases the skill of woodsmen competing against each other in events like log rolling and tree-climbing. Next door, the Southeast Alaska Discovery Cente r is an outstanding interpretive facility highlighting the commercial, recreational and cultural significance of the Tongass National Forest among Alaskans.

South of town, the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary combines a walk through the rainforest and shoreline area with an overview of early timber operations in the area.  Sister attraction, Alaska Canopy Tours, provides an exhilarating "zip line" tour through the tree tops of the forest.  A few miles further south, the George Inlet Cannery provides a historical perspective on the fishing industry as visitors walk through the site's original buildings and display of equipment used in the 1940s.

Sawyer Glacier

Nothing can prepare you for the spellbinding majesty of the Sawyer Glacier. Witness the drama as this tidal glacier calves in an impressive display of cascading ice and roaring thunder right before your eyes.


Sitka, the site of Russia's initial foray into Alaska, has perhaps the richest history of any Alaskan town. Explore the melding of Russian and Native American cultures, while enjoying the unspoiled landscape at the gateway to remote Southeast Alaska. Both the local residents and abundant wildlife add to Sitka's authentic feel.

The history of the United States is but a heartbeat in the history of Sitka. The Kiksadi Clan of the Tlingit Indians had lived in and around Sitka centuries before the Russians or Americans ever set foot on the island's rocky shores. Choosing the seaward side of the island they named Shee, the Tlingits called their settlement Shee Atika, meaning "people on the outside of Shee". The name Sitka is merely a contraction.

The Tlingits thrived undisturbed on their island paradise until 1799, when the Russians arrived. It wasn't long before Alexander Baranof, Manager of the Russian-American Company, established a fort a few miles North of the present day Sitka. The Tlingits grew immediately hostile, understanding that submission to the Russians meant allegiance to the Tzar and slave labor to the fur trade company. Their suspicions turned to violence, when the Tlingits finally attacked the Russian outpost in 1802, killing nearly all of the Russians and their Aleut slaves.

wo years later Baranof retaliated. For six days, the island Natives fought gallantly, but were out-gunned and exited silently into the night. The Russians renamed the settlement New Archangel. Russian Orthodox Church clergy soon took up residency and fortress-like structures systematically replaced clan houses atop a shoreside hill, a site later known as Castle Hill.

The fur-trade flourished and the Russian-American Company became the most profitable fur trader in the world. By mid-century, however, overhunting had diminished the number of sea otters, and thus the Russians' interest in the new world. In 1867, the Russians sold Alaska to the United States for $7.2 million with a transfer ceremony that took place in Sitka on October 18 of that year.


Pre-1887 - Skagua, as it is known by the Tlingit, meaning windy place, is used by Chilkoots and Chilkats for hunting and fishing. A few of these Native Americans settle in the quieter areas of Smuggler's Cove, Nahku Bay and Dyea, head of the Chilkoot trail, a centuries-old Indian trading route becoming popular with early prospectors heading into the Yukon. In the 1880s, U.S. Navy and Army patrols establish federal presence in the area.

1887 - In June, Skookum Jim, a Tlingit packer from Dyea and Tagish, leads Capt. William Moore, a member of Canada's Ogilvie survey party, over a new pass up the Skaqua river valley. It is later named White Pass for the Canadian Interior minister. In October, Moore returns with his son, Bernard. They lay claim to 160 acres in the valley floor and begin work on a cabin and dock. They call the place Mooresville.

1894-95 - Northwest Mounted Police patrol lands in Skagway and Dyea on way to Yukon to establish Canadian presence in area. First group of prospectors hike Moore's crude trail over White Pass.

1896 - On Aug. 17, gold is discovered by Skookum Jim, George W. Carmack and Dawson Charlie on Rabbit Creek, later called Bonanza, a tributary of the Klondike River, 600 miles from Skagway.

1897 - Moore opens trail on July 14, just before steamships Excelsior and Portland arrive in San Francisco and Seattle with famed "Ton of Gold", setting off Klondike Gold Rush. On July 29, the steamer Queen lands at Moore's wharf, the first of many stuffed with hundreds of gold seekers. The Moores are overrun: Mooresville is re-platted by surveyor Frank Reid as Skaguay. Later that fall, a post office, and the first church (Union), and newspaper (Skaguay News) are established. Many pack animals perish on crude White Pass, which will be dubbed "Dead Horse Trail." George Brackett builds toll road to White Pass City, a tent city 15 miles up the valley. Canadian Mounties begin to guard the passes, although their government is claiming territory including Skagway, where they briefly establish a post.

1898 - Skagway booms to 8,000 to 10,000 population. Daily Alaskan newspaper appears. Chamber of commerce and volunteer fire department organize. Construction begins in May on White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad after an agreement is secured by Close Brothers of London to purchase Brackett's road for a right-of-way. Unofficial city government forms and allows railroad tracks up Broadway. First school opens in Union Church in June. Criminal element led by Soapy Smith reigns until he is shot and killed by an angry mob led by Frank Reid on July 8, four days after he stood on the podium with Gov. John Brady at Skagway's first Independence Day celebration. U.S. Army, stationed in Dyea, restores order. Reid dies from wound and is given a hero's funeral at the town cemetery on the outskirts of town. Spelling changed to Skagway by post office, and most businesses reluctantly follow. Townspeople are called Skagwayans.

1899 - City has two more newspapers, the Daily Budget and Alaska Traveler's Guide. Railroad contractor Mike Heney's crews advance the line to the summit in February and Lake Bennett in July. Building boom continues with construction of prominent city structures like Arctic Brotherhood Hall, and McCabe College, which is built on land donated by Capt. Moore. He builds his own showplace home nearby. Some buildings are shipped over from declining Dyea. School moves into new building on 11th. But the city becomes fire-weary after seven downtown buildings are destroyed in May, and a forest fire destroys Army post near Dyea. The troops, most of them black Spanish American War vets, move to Skagway.

1900 - Census is taken in Skagway, recording 3,117 residents. On June 28, Skagway becomes the first incorporated city in Alaska on a vote of eligible property owners, 246-60. It beats Juneau by a day. On July 29, the WP&YR is completed between Skagway and Whitehorse with a golden spike ceremony at Carcross, Yukon. Ornate WP&YR administration building completed next to rail depot at Second and Broadway. Railway also builds a hospital.

1901-02 - McCabe College closes and building is sold to federal government for courthouse. H.D. Clark farm established across river. Charley Walker sends vegetable display to Portland Exhibition. Moore townsite claim settled, Moore's get 60 of original 160 acres and compensation. Harriet Pullen leases and then purchases Moore's stately home and opens hotel called Pullen House. Herman Kirmse organizes first garden show in 1902. On Sept. 14, a man attempts to rob the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce branch on Fifth and blows himself up by accident, along with cash and gold dust, some of which is recovered after mining the street. The man is never identified. Dentist L.S. Keller ends up with skull. Troops begin work on Fort Seward near Haines, where they will be transferred permanently in 1904.

1903-05 - International Boundary dispute finally settled in 1903 with borders set at tops of mountain passes. Skagway News closes in 1904, leaving only the Daily Alaskan. Bobby Sheldon, 14, builds first automobile in Alaska for 1905 Fourth of July parade. He will later drive first car and run tours over Alaska's first highway between Valdez and Fairbanks, where the Skagway car will end up in the University of Alaska museum. In December, a meeting is held in Skagway about building a road from here to eventually connect with the Valdez road.

1908-10 - A number of buildings are relocated to Broadway from other parts of the city to develop a business district concentrated around the rail line. Among those moved are the Red Onion Saloon and the Golden North Hotel, owned by the Dedman family. The family later will take over E.A. Hegg's photo shop.

1912-13 - Fire on hillside above Lower Dewey Lake destroys P.E. Kern's Castle, a hotel in the woods. J.M. "Si" Tanner, a popular marshal and hardware store owner, is elected to Alaska's first Territorial Legislature in 1913.

1914 - Major Richardson of Alaska Road Commission approves rough four-mile road up west side of river. Local crews led by Herman Olson and Charlie Nye get a quarter-mile further to the "Rock Wall."

1915-17 - Alaska Women's Temperance Union meets in Skagway and writes "Alaska Bone Dry Act," which Legislature will later adopt ahead of national prohibition movement. Martin Itjen operates first Skagway Hack, doubling as a taxi and coal delivery truck. His business will evolve into the popular Skaguay Street Car Co. Itjen acquires Soapy's Parlor for a museum; one of his artifacts is the bank robber's skull which he acquired from Dr. Keller, who has taken over the fledgling Alaskan. Keller coins the term "Garden City of Alaska". A new bank opens in 1916, the Bank of Alaska. It will pioneer branch banking and grow under the Rasmuson family into the largest bank in Alaska. Itjen's friend, George Rapuzzi, establishes Pet Cemetery across river where his dog loved to chase rabbits.

1918 - Saloons close. On Oct. 23, SS Princess Sophia leaves Skagway with 343 aboard. That evening she strikes Vanderbilt Reef in a blinding snowstorm near Juneau. Captain gambles on tide lifting ship off reef. After two days of weather deemed too rough for a rescue by smaller boats, she breaks apart and all aboard perish. Among them are many of the Yukon's leading citizens and Walter Harper, a member of the first expedition to ascend Mt. McKinley, who is on his honeymoon.

1920-22 - Skagway Women's Club forms and establishes Skagway Library in 1921. First airplane lands on beach. Col. Steese meets with Skagway Citizens and secures $95,000 for first leg of road to summit. $5,000 is spent on survey but rest is never spent.

1923- President Warren G. Harding visits Skagway on Navy ship in July 1923. He delivers an address at the Pullen House and is the final inductee into the Arctic Brotherhood. George Rapuzzi, a member of the Alpine Club, climbs the mountain opposite Skagway and flashes presidential party with mirrors from the summit. Peak hereafter is named Mt. Harding for the president who would die shortly after his return from Alaska. Daily Alaskan shuts down after the death of publisher Keller.

1924-30 - Beginning of first tourism boom heralded by visible promoters Itjen and Pullen, along with WP&YR, which convinces ships to stay 36 hours so visitors may ride the train and take a Yukon lake steamer trip from Carcross to beautiful Ben-My-Chree. As a fund-raiser for the hockey club, townspeople hold a variety show for tourists at the White Pass Athletic Club. It will become known as the Days of å98 Show and move to the Eagles after the athletic club shuts down during the Great Depression.

1931 - St. Pius X Mission is established in Skagway under the wing of beloved Father G. Edgar Gallant, who will operate the school for Native children from all over Alaska for almost 30 years.

1933-34 - Idea for a Gold Rush National Park in Skagway is first promoted. by Chamber of Commerce committee. A proposal to include it as part of Glacier Bay National Monument is pigeon-holed. Prohibition repealed.

1935 - In a heavily promoted visit, Martin Itjen calls on sexy starlet Mae West in Hollywood, invites her to "Come up and see me sometime" in Skagway. Town hosts first convention as Newspaper Institute of America delegates arrive on ship.

1937 - White Pass roundhouse burns.

1939 - Women's Club raises $25,000 from Territory and $24,500 from federal Works Progress Administration to build a new school. It opens in 1940 behind the old one at State and 11th.

1942 - Skagway is literally invaded by U.S. Army troops, who take over the railroad for a major supply route to build the Alcan Highway. The tracks are moved off Broadway and as many as 20 trains a day climb the pass. Over the next three years as many as 3,000 troops are stationed here. Vacant lots sprout rounded Quonset huts and H buildings. A pipeline is constructed along railway for fuel shipments.

1943-44 - Army takes over fire department and promises 24-hour service, however major fires devastate ornate Elks lodge, the Pullen House and the Mission school. Army has better luck assisting community when the Skagway River crests both years. Without the troops' help building up the dikes, the town could have been lost.

1945 - After troops leave Skagway, U.S. Health Service opens a tuberculosis sanitarium in the army hospital across the river. Nurses come from Sisters of St. Ann in Victoria, B.C. It will hold as many as 90 patients before closing in 1947.

1946-50 - WP&YR takes back operation of railroad and takes over fuel operation. Dyea Road constructed by Alaska Road Commission. Tourism pioneers Itjen and Pullen pass on. Pullen House eventually closes, but Rapuzzi keeps Itjen's dream alive at Soapy's.

1951 - White Pass becomes a pioneer in the shipping industry with containerized cargo: from the docks in Vancouver, loaded on the ship Clifford J. Rogers for the journey to Skagway, then onto trains bound for its destination in Whitehorse.

1952 - Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) announces plans to build a $400 million smelter in Dyea, powered by the mighty Tyee Project, a proposal to reverse the flow of the Yukon River with a dam in Whitehorse, and thence using that water from Yukon lakes through two tunnels down the old Chilkoot Trail to power the smelter. A "mighty city of 20,000" will be needed to support the plant, which will need 20,000 acres in the valley floor. Juneau Empire starts weekly Skagway Alaskan newspaper. Townspeople are called Skagwayites.

1953 - In July, the Taiya River washes away home of Dyea homesteader Bill Matthews and other cabins are lost along West Creek. Women's Club sponsors Harvest Fair. Workers strike railroad for 12 days and get 14-cent pay increase. ALCOA dream fades as negotiations fail to convince Canadians they would receive benefits of cheap power from the Tyee project. Company starts looking at Taku alternative and Stewart, B.C. Newspaper promotes road to Carcross. Yukon later builds its own dam.

1954-55 - Railroad takes delivery of first two diesel engines, in addition to 136 flats and 71 boxcars. North end of dock collapses under weight of 30 tons of lead and zinc concentrate. Alaskan merges with Haines Herald to become Lynn Canal Weekly. Bid for addition to school comes in at $265,000. Alaska Road Commission approves quarter-mile extension of Carcross Road to Black Lake. But it won't go further until Canadians support a road from Carcross to the border.

1956-60 - City of Skagway purchases McCabe building from federal government in 1956 for city offices. ALCOA formally abandons smelter plans in 1957. Alaska and Skagway celebrate statehood in 1959 and Morgan Reed is elected to first of four terms in the State Legislature. Monsignor Gallant is transferred to Anchorage that year and the Mission School closes without his leadership in 1960.

1961-62 - Another mile of road is built "to modern standards" to the sheer rock face past Black Lake. Upstairs of McCabe converted into the new Trail of å98 Museum, using many artifacts donated by Skagway families. Work begins again on establishing a national park after new State of Alaska shows interest. State selects land in Dyea valley for recreational use. Cy Coyne starts monthly North Wind.

1963-66 - First Alaska Marine Highway ferry arrives. Rep. Reed teams up with Sen. Elton Engstrom to pass bill to form Yukon-Taiya Commission and revive Tyee Project if state's Rampart dam doesn't materialize. Commission meets in

1968 to assess power needs. Chamber of Commerce organizes Clean Sweep.

1967 - Skagway River floods. Dikes breached and Pullen Creek culvert washes out. Gov. Wally Hickel flies up to inspect damage.

1968-69 - Plans announced for Cyprus Anvil mine near Faro, Yukon, leading White Pass to upgrade its track and equipment for a huge lead-zinc haul. Company officials convince city council to grant 55-year tidelands lease for a new ore terminal and dock. White Pass roundhouse burns again in 1969.

1970-72 - Road support builds on both sides of border. Canadians build new bridge in Carcross and extend road to B.C.-Yukon border in 1971 with activity at Venus Mine. In February, 1972 Canadians agree to building remaining 33.6 miles to Alaska border, and Alaska agree to construct their 9.4 miles. It will be called the South Klondike Highway. Park master plan is developed. White Pass donates old depot to National Park Foundation. Yukon-Taiya Commission disbands.

1973 - White Pass sold to Federal Industries. Alaska Congressional Delegation introduces first bills establishing Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Final road surveys completed. First seasonal park rangers appear on Chilkoot Trail under authority of Glacier Bay.

1974 - A $10.9 million contract is awarded to Central Construction of Seattle, a company affiliated with one of Alaska's new Native corporations, for the Alaska portion of the Klondike Highway. Canadian contracts go to Ben Ginter of Prince George, B.C. (16 miles to Tutshi River) and General Enterprises of Whitehorse (20 miles to border). Construction expected to take three years.

1976-77 - Congress passes national park legislation in June 1976 and superintendent and historical architect arrive. A temporary visitor center opens in the old depot, and the park is dedicated in Skagway in June 1977. The park includes four components: Skagway unit, Dyea-Chilkoot unit, White Pass unit, and Seattle-Pioneer Square unit. City forms Historic District Commission.

1978 - Modern Skagway News starts up after North Wind retires. Taiya River threatens old Native cemetery in Dyea, and first story the paper covers is controversial removal of remains by National Park Service to an area near the Slide Cemetery. Klondike Highway is punched through to border in September. John Edwards and Bob Bissell are the first to cross, with aid of winches. More locals follow until rough road closes for winter.

1979 - News merges with Haines paper. Klondike Highway officially opens in spring. Final cost is $14.4 million on U.S. side and $12.2 million on Canadian side. In July, a scary fire destroys Sourdough Inn, Igloo Bar and a clothing shop, but firefighters prevent it from spreading through historic District. New city barge facility/ferry terminal completed.

1980-81 - State-supported live satellite TV arrives along with public radio on KHNS. Trucks roll on highway temporarily after railroad bridge knocked out by rock slide. Park backs off plans to implement Dyea building codes after getting heat from land owners and National Inholders Association. Skagway becomes base for Disney's "Never Cry Wolf" crew filming on White Pass. Author Ken Kesey works on project and later sets novel "Sailor Song" in fictional Alaska town invaded by movie crew. Dump pigs and Bigger Hammer Marching Band are mentioned in book published later in the decade. City hires tourism director to promote Skagway. Fish hatcheries started at Burro Creek and Skagway School.

1982 - Faro mines shut down in spring, and railroad loses 70 percent of its freight revenue. This doesn't stop the return of White Pass Steam Engine No. 73 and the Skagway News returns as semi-monthly that summer. Optimism fades in fall as White Pass suspends rail operations on Oct. 8, sending Skagway into a deep depression. Unions picket and stop White Pass in Haines when company tries to truck freight to Yukon on Haines Highway.

1983-85 - White Pass announces it will not operate, even for summers. Winter unemployment estimated at 70-80 percent. Newspaper switches to monthly in winter. First running of Klondike Road Relay. Oil-rich state helps Skagway with $8.5 million to construct a new school. Skagway lands Alaska Visitors Association convention and sees increase in number of cruise ships docking to more than 100. Historic dock deal reached between city, state and White Pass to improve dock facilities to allow more cruise ships. Park's first restoration project, the old White Pass depot and administration building, is completed and opened for the park's visitor center and offices. Broadway gets "historic pavement" to cut down on dust. Garden Club forms and establishes competition, Order of Eastern Star starts annual flower and garden show. Voters approve land sale along Dyea Road and houses spring up on hillside. Number of visitors to Skagway tops 200,000.

1986-87 - Curragh, Inc. buys Anvil mine and announces it wants to truck concentrate to Skagway. Mayor Bill Feero breaks a tied city council in February 1986 and city requests state to open highway year-round. Gov. Bill Sheffield and Yukon government Leader Tony Penikett sign historic agreement in April. Trucks operated by Lynden roll in June. White Pass brings back container ship and gets into trucking too. Number of cruise ships surpasses 200. Park finishes restoring two more buildings in 1986-87 and leases them to private businesses. City establishes Centennial Committee in 1987 and park completes restoration of Moore cabin for its 100th anniversary. First Buckwheat Ski Classic joins Windfest as winter event. Prospective railroad buyers appear on scene and say railway would be a viable tourist operation. Skagway's small cross-country team wins school's first state title. Tensions rise on waterfront as the Lynden-operated ore terminal replaces striking workers, who fail to organize union and abandon picket lines in new year.

1988 - On March 1, White Pass President Marvin Taylor announces the company has reached agreement with its unions to reopen the railroad for a summer tourist operation with three-hour round-trips to the summit. Whistles blow all over town as employees return to work. First train operates with great fanfare on May 12. News goes back to twice-monthly year-round. Alaska State Garden Club holds annual convention in Skagway, and the city is officially proclaimed "Garden City of Alaska" by Gov. Steve Cowper. Year ends on scary note, as high lead levels are recorded in Skagway from past ore movement. School children are tested by state public health officials, and blood levels are below normal. However, a clean-up is coming.

1989-90 - Massive $6 million clean-up by "supersuckers" paid by Curragh and White Pass along waterfront, railroad and highway through town. Battle lines drawn on waterfront as White Pass proposes Broadway Dock west of ferry terminal, and Curragh tries to convince city to lease land for new ore dock and terminal east of ferry terminal. City approves White Pass project, sends Curragh project to voters. Election called off after Curragh polls community and finds little support. Curragh and White Pass begin to work together to improve existing ore terminal, leased from White Pass, on city tidelands. As voters are posed again, to approve a lease to the state's Alaska Industrial and Export Authority (AIDEA), White Pass announces it will sell the terminal to AIDEA, which wins Legislative approval for $25 million to buy and upgrade the terminal. Broadway dock opens in 1990. Ships have some trouble maneuvering in wind and ore dock is damaged. River rises to near flood stage, prompting push for more flood control. Remains of old Pullen House torn down after long-abandoned relic deemed unsafe. School's Pullen Creek hatchery program receives national vocational education award.

1991-92 - Ore terminal operates through Curragh strike in Yukon. Island Princess and Regent Sea collide in bay on way into port; miraculously no one is seriously injured. Ships are repaired and return later that summer. New rules for harbor: ships must arrive an hour apart. City does emergency flood control in September 1991, gets state's attention. Number of visitors tops 300,000 in 1992 during 50th anniversary of the building of the Alaska Highway. Reunions highlight summer, along with war-themed AVA convention.

1993-94 ? Yukon government loans Curragh $29 million to stay alive, then Curragh files Chapter 11. Terminal closes. City pushes for winter highway funding, with or without mine, and get assurances from state and territorial leaders. Good year for filming on pass: TV show "Due South" in spring and movie "Snowbound: Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story" in fall 1993. Yukon log shipments roll to Skagway on highway in spring 1994. Skagway Medical Corporation formed after members split off from Haines -based corporation and win city approval. Clinic affiliates with Bartlett Hospital in Juneau. "Good Morning America" visits in May. White Pass announces plans to expand, revamp and lengthen its Railroad Dock but is plagued by three fuel spills from its pipeline, the last occurring in October, leading to federal charges against two company officials. The company closes the line and sells its fuel business. A worse disaster befalls White Pass a month later when the dock collapses, sending a tidal wave across the bay, uprooting the ferry dock and spinning it into the Broadway dock. One worker is killed in the debris. Disaster declared by Gov. Hickel. Damage to state dock and small boat harbor exceeds $1 million. White Pass vows to rebuild railroad dock in time for 1995 cruise season.

1995-96 - New Anvil Range Corp. buys Faro mine. First cruise ship lands at new Railroad Dock on May 30. Adventure tour craze explodes with new operators and tours in Skagway and Dyea, and city approves more helicopter landings on glaciers. Voters approve extending sales tax to tours and transportation. RCMP Musical Ride performs on beach for Mounties' 100th anniversary. Visitor numbers surpass 400,000 on 313 ships. Main part of old school destroyed after 10 years of disrepair, but gym is saved for future recreation center. New border station opens on highway. Ore trucks return in the fall, followed by ships. City elects first female mayor, Sioux Plummer. In 1996, White Pass officials are indicted, tried and convicted by a jury for their involvement in the 1994 spill. They appeal: one conviction stands, the other is tossed out. Skagway connects to the Internet . Weak metal prices force Anvil Range to announce pending shutdown.

1997-98 - Cominco purchases Anvil Range shares, but mine shuts and ore terminal closes in April 1997. Voters approve loan package to fund new incinerator up Klondike Highway. Ore terminal reopens in fall after mine opens again, only to close on Christmas after Anvil Range files for protection. However, over next two years, city swells with pride during Klondike Gold Rush Centennial celebrations including "Ton of Gold" reenactment, Dyea to Dawson races, Skagway Centennial Statue and Park completion, dedication of Klondike International Historical Park, and the first-day issue of a Klondike postage stamp. New state license plates also show gold rush trail scene. White Pass also begins three years of centennial events. The company is spun off from Russell Metals (formerly Federal Industries) and becomes part of new Tri-White Corporation. School and organizations celebrate 100th birthdays, and Alaska Power and Telephone's Goat Lake Hydro project is completed. Skagway is 100 percent hydro and sending power to Haines too. Forest fire burns 85 acres above Dyea, threatening Chilkoot, before being stopped by local and state fire crews. City takes over management of Dyea Flats from Park Service. State releases Juneau Access study, favoring either a highway link up the east side of Lynn Canal to Skagway, or improved ferry service using daily fast ferries. Skagway leans toward the fast ferries, while Haines is adamantly opposed to a new road link. Juneau is split.

1999-2000 - White Pass and state settle suit over 1994 dock damage, with railroad to pay $1.875 million. Skagway is 16th most visited cruise destination in the world with nearly 450 cruise calls. As visitor count approaches 750,000, city looks harder at dealing with impacts. Police, fire department/EMS and clinic expand staff. City snuffs "shuttle wars" by offering service to just one company, and then forces independent tour operators to use a single broker. Economic development director is hired, tackles "quality of life" issues to keep locals here in winter. Rec. Center improvements completed, director hired, and use expanded. Airport expansion project begins and is completed in 2001. Like the rest of the world, Skagway enters the new millennium with no bugs in its computers, and enters the cell phone age. Democrat Gov. Tony Knowles delivers decision on Juneau Access in early 2000, favoring fast ferries, but has trouble pushing ferry construction through the Republican-controlled Legislature. National Bank of Alaska is sold to Wells Fargo, which was here during the gold rush. McCabe is restored for city's centennial, but there are construction delays, much like 100 years before, and the city holds a big birthday party outside in June before it can move in. WP&YR celebrates its 100th birthday in July with great fanfare in Carcross and announces resumption of service to that Yukon community. Next big project is flood control north of town. The rest of Skagway streets are paved in conjunction with the airport project. A Klondike gold dredge is brought to Skagway as a tourist attraction. Yukon abandons dock plans here, saying money would be better spent at home helping people deal with its ailing economy. 2001-2004 - In 2001, the city explores building a new dock to handle freight for the proposed Alaska Highway Natural Gas Pipeline, but there's resistance because the dock would need cruise ships to pay bonding costs over the long run. The concern is Skagway, population 862 in the 2000 census, is close to its cruise visitor capacity in summer, and existing docks can be improved for a pipe haul to the Yukon, if it comes. Skagway enjoys a great summer season until Sept. 11, when virtually all traffic stopped for a few days after the terrorist attacks on the East Coast, but the ships and planes returned and more visitors come in 2002. Republican Sen. Frank Murkowski is elected governor and vows to build a road from Juneau to Skagway. He restarts the EIS process. In 2003, the WP&YR adds on to its railroad dock to handle bigger ships, but Skagway's industrial position is dealt a blow when corrosion at the ore terminal makes it unsafe and the state decides to tear it down. However, the city asks that the site be preserved for future industrial use, so a new terminal may be built if mining ever rebounds in the Yukon. Skagway residents follow the war in Iraq on their satellite dishes, the internet, and cell phones. As 2004 unfolds, despite pressure from a pro-road movement, the city sticks to its resolution in support of better ferries for improving Juneau Access. The final EIS on the road vs. ferries is due to be released as the state's first fast ferry, the MV Fairweather, starts running in Lynn Canal and between Juneau and Sitka this summer. Skagway gets a welcome reprieve from winter when the cast of "The Big White" shows up in town to film on the pass. The stars fit right in as Robin Williams bikes around town, and Holly Hunter rings bar bells. Like some residents, they call themselves Skagwegians.

Tracy Arm Fjord

Tracy Arm FjordNestled between 3,000-foot high granite walls, the narrow, twisting slice of ocean called Tracy Arm Fjord weaves through the Tongass National Forest for roughly 35 miles. The shoreline is spotted with waterfalls created by melting snowcaps and trees sprouting at odd angles from rocky outcroppings. You will have ample time to admire the landscape and perhaps catch sight of a few native animals as you cruise through this port.

Literally hundreds of waterfalls cascade down the sides of the fjord, creating an almost otherworldly atmosphere.

Famed naturalist John Muir compared the glacial-carved sheer granite cliffs in the area to those of Yosemite, saying that this region was even more spectacular than the more well known Yosemite valley.

One thing is certain when you visit Tracy Arm Fjord - you will be impressed and struck with awe at the magnitude and beauty of the place.

About Vancouver

Weather     Currency     Tipping     Taxation

vancouver hotel tours, canadaFounded in 1886, Vancouver is located in the southwest corner of British Columbia, at about 49° Latitude and 123° Longitude, next to the Pacific Ocean. With a population of about 500,000, Vancouver lies in a region of more than 2 million people, making it Canada's 3rd largest city. It is also Canada's largest port on the West Coast.

Vancouver was named for Captain George Vancouver, who in 1792, fourteen years after sailing here under Captain Cook, returned to the area in 1792, and spent the next two years exploring the area in search of the western end of the "Northwest Passage".

(Captain George Vancouver's ancestors came from the town of Coeverden in northeast Holland. His grandfather was John Jasper van Coeverden. In Dutch, Coeverden means 'cow crossing'.)

2010 Olympic Winter Games. VancouverVancouver has been selected as the host city for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games .

Vancouver is an exciting and lively city, boasting an impressive number of activities and attractions for both the one-time visitor and the everyday resident. Enjoy the variety of festivals and events Vancouver has to offer. Visit the widely known and not-so-widely known Vancouver attractions yourself, or go on an organized tour with a knowledgeable guide. Experience recreational activities both exhilarating and relaxing. Finish off your day with a night out on the town, featuring some of the best dining and nightlife in Canada.



Daytime temperatures and night-time temperatures are fairly consistent because of the moderating influence of the sea. Vancouver is sheltered from the worst of Pacific Ocean weather systems by Vancouver Island. In the summer time, you can generally expect hot and sunny weather, with only occasional precipitation. In the fall, winter, and spring time, expect rain more often than not ... after all, there's a reason the grass and tree-leaves are green year-round. Always carry an umbrella with you in case of rain.

Average daily high temperatures are:









































The Canadian dollar is worth about two-thirds of a US dollar. Most Greater Vancouver establishments accept US dollars and Japanese yen, and usually offer reasonable exchange rates.

The current Canada/US exchange rate and the exchange rate between Canada and other countries, is on the website:



Some hotels include tips or gratuities with group programs to simplify bookkeeping. This will usually include gratuities for housekeeping, bell service and food service. In a hotel, bell service should be tipped about $1 per bag, and housekeeping $1 to $5 dollars a day (in proportion to your room rate). Visitors should know that the standard tip in restaurants is 10%-15% (on restaurant bills, an average tip will match the GST(Goods and Services Tax), with 20% for very outstanding service. This is especially important for visitors from countries where tipping on meals is not done: here the waitering staff depend on tips for a significant portion of their incomes. Tip a similar proportion for taxis, or at least round fares up to the nearest dollar.



There are three levels of taxation that affect visitors to Vancouver. There is a 10% tax charged on accommodation and liquor. For just about all other goods and services, there is a 7% provincial sales tax (PST)-it's official title is "Social Services Tax"-as well as the 6% federal goods and services tax (GST). There are a number of exemptions and complexities to the way those taxes are applied, particularly where food is involved. PST, for instance, is not applied to, among other things, food and children's clothing.

Visitors to Vancouver from outside the country can apply to have the GST returned to them when they leave the country, but they have to keep their purchase receipts as proof of the amount paid. The application form is included in the booklet Tax Refund for Visitors to Canada. It's widely available, and specifically at Tourist Information Centers, hotels or motels, duty-free shops, most shopping centers and retail stores, boutiques, travel agents. You can also phone the Visitor Rebate Program at 1.800.668.4748 (within Canada) or 902.432.5608 (outside Canada); or for a FAQ, use the Internet web site:



Image of People and Places in SeattleSeattle Weather and Climate

Seattle and the Pacific Northwest generally have a wet climate -- despite the fact that the winter of 2004/2005 here was one of the dryest on record!

But normal average yearly precipitation for our area of the world is around 37 inches.

On average, it rains in Seattle at least 50% of the time, with the heaviest rain periods between January and May and between October and December. June, July and August are our dryest and warmest months.

Temperatures in the summer usually hover around a pleasant 75, though we also have been known to suffer through weeklong heat spells in the high 80s or low 90s.

Check Seattle local weather conditions

In the winter, Seattle may see a handful of snow days per year: the last major snow event in Seattle was in 1997, when we were snowed in for a week with several inches. However, in the winter of 2006/2007, the Puget Sound area experienced a number of damaging winter storms, lowland snow, wind storms, and a weeks-long string of below-freezing days -- it remains to be seen whether this winter is an anomaly or part of a larger climatological shift caused by global warming.

Seattle summer climate tends more toward the dry than the humid -- we get occasional summer thunderstorms, but not many, and tornados are rare.

The best way to prepare for visiting Seattle is to layer -- the climate, with our hilly terrain's infamous "convergence zones", is unpredictable enough (just ask our long-suffering local weather people) that you never know when a rain storm, a dry spell, or a sudden drop in temperature might occur.

You'll notice many Seattleites who don't even use umbrellas -- after awhile, you just get used to the drizzle.

Rain jokes aside, Seattle has a milder climate than many other parts of the world, with less extreme variations in temperature, and a higher number of cloudy days with misty and damp weather.

Location and Geography

  • The City of Seattle is located in the State of Washington on Puget Sound, 113 miles (182 km) south of the U.S.-Canadian border.
  • It is at latitude 47" 37' and north longitude 122" 19' West.
  • Its land area covers 217 sq km, and its water area covers 150 sq km -- 41% water in city limits!
  • The city is located at sea level. The highest hill elevation in the city is 520 feet.
  • Seattle terrain is hilly (the city is built on seven adjacent hills) and green.
  • The city shoreline runs along Puget Sound to the west and Lake Washington to the east.
  • The Lake Washington Ship Canal is an east/west running waterway that geologically divides Seattle into northern and southern sections.
  • Lake Union is a 580 acre freshwater lake that is part of the Lake Washington Ship Canal system, located about mid-city, just to the west of Interstate-5.
  • The city's major lakes are Lake Washington, which stretches along almost the entire eastern side of Seattle, and Bitter Lake, Green Lake and Haller Lake, which are all north of the Lake Washington Ship Canal.
  • There are over 150 bridges in use in Seattle, helping people travel over the many waterways in the city.
  • The city is separated from the Pacific Ocean by the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas.
  • An active geological fault, The Seattle Fault Zone, runs under the city.
  • Harbor Island, at the mouth of the Duwamish Waterway, is an artificial island, first built in 1909. It divides the Duwamish Waterway into east and west waterways.
  • South of Harbor Island, the Duwamish Waterway becomes the Duwamish River, which divides South Seattle between the Beacon Hill, Seward Park and Rainier Valley neighborhoods to the east, and the Delridge and West Seattle neighborhoods to the west.
  • Seattle contains a number of streams, creeks and waterways, including Broadview Creek, Fauntleroy Creek, Longfellow Creek and Piper's Creek, which empty into Puget Sound, and Arboretum Creek, Ravenna Creek and Thornton Creek, which empty into Lake Washington.
  • Seattle, the Emerald City, has hundreds of parks. See the Parks and Recreation web site for the full list.

People and Culture

A Seattle Snapshot

  • Noah Sealth, chief of the local Suquamish Native American tribe, was one of the founders of the city. Seattle is named after him.
  • Before it got the name Seattle in late 1852, the city was known as Duwamps.
  • The Great Seattle Fire of 1889 burnt up most of the first Seattle downtown. It was rebuilt within a year, literally on top of the remains of the older downtown. You can still see sections of the original downtown on the colorful Seattle Underground Tour.
  • 3.2 million people live in the Greater Seattle Area. About 570,000 live in Seattle itself. Read more data about Seattle.
  • More than 75% of Seattle residents have internet access at home. The Seattle WiFi Map Project mapped out thousands of wireless networks in Seattle.
  • Seattle is one of the fittest cities in the country, especially for walkers and bikers.
  • Seattle has the highest per-capita music and dance attendance in the country, with 80 live music clubs (not counting the movable dance clubs and shows) and 15 symphony orchestras.
  • The Seattle International Film Festival in mid-May to June showcases world film and new world filmmakers.
  • Seattle has 29 professional theatres, 56 fringe theatre companies and seven theatre schools.
  • Bumbershoot, over Labor Day weekend, is one of the largest entertainment festivals in the world.
  • Ballard, in north Seattle, was once a Norweigan fishing village. The Alaskan fishing fleet still winters there before heading out on salmon runs.
  • The Nordic Heritage Museum is the country's only museum honoring the heritage of people from the five Nordic countries.
  • Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Jimi Hendrix and Ernestine Anderson all lived in Central and South Seattle over the years.
  • Seafair is a massive two-month summer festival that showcases the traditions and diversity of Puget Sound with parades, festivals, triathalons, hydroplane races and air shows.
  • Alki Beach is one of the city's longest white sand beaches, 2 miles along the west side of West Seattle.
  • U-Dist is the nickname of the neighborhood surrounding the University of Washington.
  • The Wing Luke Museum in Chinatown/International District is the country's only museum devoted to Asian-American history, with displays on immigration, the arts and traditional medicine.

You can't go to Paris without stopping by the Eiffel Tower. And you can't visit Seattle without checking out the view from the world-famous Space Needle. Here's a handy "must do" list for first-time visitors and those who want to be sure they've done everything (it may take more than one trip).

10 Things You MUST See & Do in Seattle...

The Space Needle
Seattle Center, 400 Broad St.; 206.905.2100;
A 41-second elevator ride takes you up 520 feet to the observation deck of the Space Needle, built for the 1962 World's Fair. Enjoy a meal at SkyCity, the restaurant at the top that revolves 360° while you dine.

Pike Place Market
Between First Ave. and Western, from Pike to Virginia streets
Born in 1907, Seattle's Pike Place Market is the granddaddy of farmers' markets. Today, it's a major tourist attraction with 200 businesses operating year-round, 190 craftspeople and 120 farmer booths - plus street performers and musicians. Flowers by the bucketful, flying fish, fresh pastries and fruit, handmade cheeses, local honey, wine, an assortment of restaurants, import goods, antiques, collectibles and lots of surprises are around every corner.

Traveling by ferry is a state of mind as much as a means of transportation to some of the Puget Sound's most historic and scenic sites. Views of the Olympic and Cascade mountains, the Seattle cityscape and the green shorelines will draw you out onto the deck to feel the salt breeze on your face. The state ferry system takes passengers and their vehicles from Seattle and nearby departure points to Vashon Island, the Kitsap Peninsula, the San Juan Islands and Canada. For privately operated ferries, see the Sightseeing & Tours (page 35) and Visitors Services/Travel & Transportation (page 120) listings in this guide.

Seattle Aquarium
Pier 59
Meet Alki, the sea otter pup born at the Aquarium. Walk under the water in a glass dome as bluntnose sixgill sharks and other Elliott Bay creatures swim all around you. Touch a sea anemone. Learn about the lives of salmon at the world's first aquarium-based salmon ladder. Marvel at the impossibly bright-colored coral reef fish. And don't forget to wave to the giant Pacific octopus.

The Seattle Waterfront
Piers 52 to 70 on Alaskan Way
A bustling collection of attractions, restaurants and shopping, as well as starting points for ferries, cruise ships, the Victoria Clipper and Argosy boat tours are located here. Feed the seagulls at the statue of Ivar Haglund in front of Ivar's Acres of Clams, stroll by the fountains on the wooden piers of Waterfront Park, admire the view or shop for souvenirs.

Woodland Park Zoo
South Gate: 750 N. 50th St
See more than 1,000 animals of 300 different species, from elephants and gorillas to piranhas and penguins, in naturalistic exhibits at the Woodland Park Zoo. Drop by at scheduled feeding times and talk with the people who care for the animals.

Bill Speidel's Underground Tour
608 First Ave.
After the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, the city was rebuilt over the top of the ruins. This guided tour takes visitors through the hidden subterranean passages that once were the main roadways and storefronts of old downtown Seattle and tells stories of the frontier people who lived and worked there.

The Seattle Public Library
1000 Fourth Ave.
Designed by world-renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, the award-winning glass and steel structure of the new Central Library makes the building seem a little off-kilter and translucent - allowing passersby on the street to look in.

Tillicum Village
Blake Island
A short, narrated cruise takes you to an island village, where you'll feast on salmon cooked in the authentic Native American way. A stage show of traditional dances and stories entertains and teaches you about the people who lived in the Northwest first.

Ride the Ducks of Seattle
516 Broad St
, Seattle
206.441.DUCK (3825)
Tour Seattle by land and water on a WWII amphibious landing craft. This 90-minute adventure tour will have you "quacking up" through the streets of Seattle. You'll see the major sights of the Emerald City on land before you head out to the funky Fremont neighborhood where you'll splash into Lake Union.



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